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The European Parliament’s decision not to immediately pass the new EU Copyright Directive in July was seen by many as a major setback. It was defeated by 318 to 278, a margin of 40 votes. This means the proposed legislation now moves forward to a full plenary debate and vote next Wednesday 12 September.

As the music industry faces this pivotal moment, it is worth reflecting how we got here and what we are now facing.

The creative industries as a whole have long argued that embryonic digital legislation passed in the mid 1990s is outdated and simply not fit for purpose. The legislative process is slow at the best of times. Meanwhile, the tech industry “moved fast and broke things,” incurring the wrath of creators whose livelihoods have been upended as a result.

The publication of the draft EU Copyright Directive in late 2016 was an achievement in itself. Not only did the draft legislation address copyright protection and safe harbour loopholes, it also contained provisions concerning fairness and transparency towards creators. Following further debate and lobbying, is even more of an achievement that the key elements of the draft directive remain mostly intact.

The Directive has not been without it’s critics, as is the case with any proposed legislation. Academics, libraries and dignitaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee have all put forth concerns. We in the music industry can acknowledge some concerns as understandable even if we believe they are unfounded.

What is not understandable are the thoroughly vile and dishonest tactics deployed during the course of this year, whose objective is to stop the legislation in its tracks at any cost. The scale of this activity reads like set pieces straight out of the Cambridge Analytica playbook.

Some in the music industry have questioned how we fight back given the vast funding involved and the sheer scale of this enterprise. But fight back we must and the actions of those we face only serve to give us greater strength.

As any Jiu-Jitsu grandmaster will tell you: use your opponents’ force against them. In this case, we should call out the deceitful actions from within the tech sector and elsewhere and those actions speak louder than any words.

  • The Financial Times reported some MEPs received death threats

  • MEPs were each bombarded with over 60,000 emails from bots

  • These emails contained identical content according to The Trichordist

  • The same blog named the domain name from which a large number of these emails originated and its link to a US Inc. entity.

  • The same tactics have been found on Twitter: multiple bot accounts promoting #SaveOurInternet and similar hashtags

  • This contrasts to real world protests that only drew a few hundred protestors combined across Europe. The bots did not show up.

 

These actions must also be viewed against the current backdrop where tech firms have been scrutinised for avoiding responsibility concerning:

  • Blatantly dishonest content

  • Content that incites hatred and violence

  • Little accountability in how such content is disseminated

  • Minimal transparency in how user data is abused in facilitating all this

Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are amongst those tech executives rebuked by lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, for failing to take responsibility and failing to act in managing their own platforms. This is reflective of a broader failure that lies at the heart of a misguided and libertarian ideal, that somehow tech firms are exempt from laws and rules that govern the rest of the world.

The music industry and broader creative and media industries are made up of real people, filled with passion and blood pumping through their veins. They compose their own emails, speak to politicians and show up in person.

At the UK Music organized #LoveMusic busking event in London earlier today, artists, executives and even politicians turned out in support. Artists such as Brett Anderson, Ed Harcourt, Dave Rowntree, Madeleina Kay, Newton Faulkner and BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt. In addition a number of cross party British MPs who support the directive including Tom Watson, Nigel Evans and Kevin Brennan were amongst those in attendance.

One has to ask, if those opposing the EU Copyright Directive have such a compelling argument, why do they resort to such deceitful means? If we judge their actions, the arguments of those opposed to the directive hold no legitimacy and the European Parliament should vote in favour of the directive.

Andy Edwards, music manager and consultant
@andyedwardsbiz

03 Apr 2020 | Press release

The Official Top 40 Biggest Singles and Albums of 2020 so far – end of Q1

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03 Apr 2020 | Press release

Danny Howard moves to coveted 9pm slot in BBC Radio 1 Friday night schedule

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03 Apr 2020 | Press release

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03 Apr 2020 | Press release

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02 Apr 2020 | Press release

Marathon Music Group Appoints Ophelia Conheady as Head of A&R for Marathon Artists imprint

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02 Apr 2020 | Press release

Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group appoints John Leahy as SVP Marketing and Strategy

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02 Apr 2020 | Press release

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02 Apr 2020 | Press release

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02 Apr 2020 | Press release

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02 Apr 2020 | Press release

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02 Apr 2020 | Press release

Mike Smith stands down as MD of Warner Chappell UK

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02 Apr 2020 | Press release

Liverpool Sound City 'Guest House'

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01 Apr 2020 | Press release

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01 Apr 2020 | Press release

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01 Apr 2020 | Press release

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01 Apr 2020 | Press release

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01 Apr 2020 | Press release

Jason Mraz signs new global multi-recordings deal with BMG

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31 Mar 2020 | Press release

BBC's Bob Harris OBE and Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett join the Americana Music Association UK Board

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31 Mar 2020 | Press release

AIM hosts first music business conference adapted to virtual format in response to Covid-19

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31 Mar 2020 | Press release

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31 Mar 2020 | Press release

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31 Mar 2020 | Press release

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31 Mar 2020 | Press release

BMG appoints Dan Pounder as Co-Head of BMG Production Music

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30 Mar 2020 | Press release

Music Industry Rallies To Support Independent Music Retail With #recordstoreoftheday Campaign

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30 Mar 2020 | Press release

Hipgnosis acquires music catalogue of Richie Sambora

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30 Mar 2020 | Press release

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30 Mar 2020 | Press release

UK Music appoints Tom Watson as new UK Music Chair

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30 Mar 2020 | Press release

Grassroots music venues in crisis – Music Venue Trust call to action

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30 Mar 2020 | Press release

IMPEL expands to Latin America

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30 Mar 2020 | Press release

Sentric makes Business Affairs and Data Science hires

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03 Apr 2020

  • Mike Smith stands down as Warner Chappell MD (see Business)

  • European music organisations urge increase of budgets dedicated to music (see News)

02 Apr 2020

  • Spotify and Warner Music Group announce renewed global licensing partnership (see Business)

  • Blue Raincoat appoints John Leahy; Marathon appoints Ophelia Conheady (see Business)

01 Apr 2020

  • Kobalt reports increased losses but strong revenue growth (see Business)

  • Vivendi closes sale of stake in Universal Music Group to Tencent consortium (see Business)

  • TikTok strikes short-term licensing deals with majors (see Digital)

  • Eurovision Song Contest to be broadcast in live, non-competitive format (see Media)

31 Mar 2020

  • Tom Watson appointed Chair of UK Music (see Business)

  • OCC and ERA working to expand the number of independent retailers reporting home delivery sales to the Official Charts (see News)

30 Mar 2020

  • Hipgnosis acquires Richie Sambora catalogue (see Deals)

  • PPL announces £87.6m Q1 distribution, plus additional measures to help the music community (see News)

  • MMF and FAC survey suggests £50m has been lost to the wider music economy (see Analysis)

27 Mar 2020

  • Music industry welcomes 'vital lifeline' for self-employed, but warns two month wait too long (see News)

  • Download and Isle of Wight festivals cancelled (see News)

26 Mar 2020

  • Radio 1, 6 Music to streamline schedules; Annie Mac comes off air (see Media)

  • SpotifyPRS For Music and Help Musicians launch coronavirus relief fund (see News)

25 Mar 2020

  • BMG report 10.1% revenue rise for 2019 (see Business)

  • IMPALA's Covid-19 Task Force publishes package of ten recommendations (see News)

24 Mar 2020

  • The Great Escape 2020 has been cancelled (see News)

23 Mar 2020

  • HMV closes all 120 of its UK stores due to coronavirus (see Business)

  • Kenny Rogers dies (see News)

  • Industry calls for help for self-employed (see Comment)